4.7 Orientation & Mobility: Assessment & Training

Orientation and Mobility (O & M) services can provide students who are blind, deaf-blind, or visually impaired with skills and concepts needed to travel safely and independently around the Gallaudet University campus. Training is individualized to help each student learn the skills and concepts needed to travel safely and independently.

Training may include skills in orientation (finding destinations on campus or in unfamiliar communities, orienting oneself when lost, etc.), effective use of all remaining senses (including the kinesthetic sense), negotiating stairs and obstacles, crossing streets, using buses and transit, and problem-solving. Orientation is provided for students who already possess the skills to travel safely and independently but who want help orienting themselves to new places.

Some students might benefit from more extensive training, while others may find it useful to investigate the campus for a day or two before classes begin, with the aid of an O & M professional. Students desiring O & M training should meet with their OSWD counselor to make a request. Students new to Gallaudet University are advised to contact OSWD prior to their arrival so that orientation and mobility services can be arranged ahead of time.

OSWD collaborates with Vocational Rehabilitation and off-campus, certified O & M specialists experienced in providing O & M assessment and/or training for deaf-blind students who request services. OSWD also provides an on-campus orientation for students who are fully trained but simply need an orientation to campus.